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Lawyer Deregulation Bill Passed – Lawyers vs Registered Migration Agents - consider Immigration industry experience

Deregulation of Lawyers

 

On 15 June 2020, the Senate passed the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2019. This means that unrestricted legal practitioners will be able to provide immigration advice to clients without having to be registered as a migration agent.


Currently, all legal practitioners must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) as well as hold practising certificates through their state legal boards. This means that they are subject to two sets of professional regulatory regimes. The deregulation of legal practitioners operating in the migration advice industry will allow for any legal practitioners to provide migration advice. 

Until the Bill becomes law, lawyers are still required to be registered with the OMARA to be able to provide migration advice. 

The Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 22 June 2020. The final version of the Act is yet to be released.

Schedule 1 of the Act specifies that it will become unlawful for legal practitioners with Unrestricted Practising Certificates to be registered as Registered Migration Agents from the date made by proclamation, or nine months after the day after the Act received Royal Assent (ie 23 March 2021), whichever is earlier .

Although there is quite an amount of work involved in OMARA changing its internal systems, the changes may occur before the 23 March 2021.

 

Lawyers vs Registered Migration Agents

With the passing of this Bill, all lawyers will be able to complete work typically done by Registered Migration Agents.

Migration is a complex area of law that is constantly changing. It is important that advice is sought from experienced immigration lawyers or registered migration agents. Having experience in the field of immigration, they will be aware of current regulations and policies relating to various visa subclasses.

While immigration lawyers and registered migration agents can both provide migration advice, visa application assistance and appeals to the AAT, only lawyers can assist with judicial review at the Federal Circuit Court.

At Work Visa Lawyers, we have a team of Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents. We can help you with all aspects of your visa application and appeal.

 

Which is Better? Lawyers or Registered Migration Agents

When it comes to migration advice, it is not about the title held but more so the person's experience in the field. It is important that you seek migration advice from a professional who has expertise in the visa subclass that you are applying for. Within the field of immigration, there are varying expertise on a range of visas, such as partner visas, skilled visas or employer-sponsored visas. Our team at Work Visa Lawyers have experience in all areas of migration and would be happy to assist you.

There are a few ways to determine the previous experience of a lawyer or an RMA:

Years of Practise

To check how long your RMA has been registered for, search their name on the Register of Migration Agents on OMARA. All of our RMAs are registered with OMARA.

To check when your Lawyer was admitted to practise law, search their name on the Register of Practising Certificates in the relevant state legal board. In South Australia, this will be the Law Society of South Australia. All of our Immigration Lawyers hold valid certificates to practise law in South Australia.

Chris Johnston, the founder of Work Visa Lawyers, has been working in the Immigration field since 2006.

Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials from previous clients will give you an idea about their experience in the field. 

You can read more about our happy clients on our Testimonials page. 

 

 

The dynamic arising from the Lawyer Deregulation Bill may create conflict within the migration advice industry. With both Lawyers and RMAs operating under distinct sets of Professional Conduct Rules, there is a lack of regulation to govern two sets of professions working in the same field.  

 

Do you need help?

At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Partner Visas, Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas and other Family Migration visas as well as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:

(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Sources

https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/jasonwood/Pages/government-removes-unnecessary-dual-regulation-for-lawyers.aspx

 

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Featured

NSW 491 Visa Nomination Application Open – Monday 15 June 2020

NSW_491_nomination_opening

 

****UPDATE 18 June 2020***: NSW has removed the minimum period of residence and the working requirements for state nomination. The application deadline has also been extended to 5pm Friday 26 June 2020.

For the first time since the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491) visa was announced in November 2019, NSW is finally accepting nomination applications for this subclass. NSW Treasury will begin accepting nominations for 491 visa for a limited time. Read more to find out how to apply!

Applications opened on Monday 15 June 2020 and will close at 5pm on Tuesday, 23 June 2020. The application deadline has been extended to 5pm Friday 26 June 2020.

Applications will be assessed by the end of the financial year; Tuesday 30 June 2020.

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Featured

How to Appeal a Visa Refusal at the Federal Circuit Court? The Next Step After an Unsuccessful AAT Appeal

Judicial Review Blog Header

 

There are many visa applicants who have received a visa refusal and then appealed the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for merits review, only to find that the AAT did not find in the applicants’ favour. If the AAT has affirmed the Department of Home Affairs’ decision to refuse your visa and you believe that an error was made in reaching this decision, you may be able to apply for a judicial review.

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Featured

Fast Track to Australian PR Now - Global Talent Independent Visa

The Global Talent Independent visa has attracted a lot of attention as it is the first of its kind in Australian immigration. There are 5,000 available places per year.

 

The global talent independent program is a new initiative by the Department of Home Affairs to attract highly skilled workers from target sectors to Australia.

This visa is a fast-track to Australian permanent residency and will be a great visa pathway for high achievers around the world. The government hopes that the work of these individuals will provide a boost to the Australian economy.


To learn more about the three new programs for innovation, click here.

 

Benefits

The GTI program has a range of benefits, including:

  • Permanent residency from visa grant
  • Access to healthcare and other government benefits (subject to any relevant waiting periods)
  • Full ability to work in Australia 
  • No strict points requirement, unlike the 189 visa
  • No high English requirement, only functional English is required, which is IELTS average band score of at least 4.5 for each of the 4 test components
  • Access to the Australian job market in these high-growth sectors;
  • Your family can come with you to live, work and study in Australia;
  • Permanent residents can sponsor their parents for Australian visas;
  • There is no Skilling Australians Fund levy

 

Target Sectors

Australia has identified 7 key sectors for this program, which are sectors in which the Government feels are big growth areas for the Australian economy in the near future.

The target sectors are: 

  1. AgTech; 
  2. FinTech; 
  3. MedTech; 
  4. Cyber Security; 
  5. Energy and Mining Technology; 
  6. Space and Advanced Manufacturing; 
  7. and Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT.

 

Requirements

Global Talent applicants are required to show that they are highly skilled professionals. This can be measured by:

  • being able to earn at least $153,600; or
  • being a recent PhD or Masters graduate with high grades

For salary, you do not need to be earning this salary now, you just need to be able to show that you would be able to earn this in Australia.

For graduates, it is unclear what will fall within “high grades”, however, the higher your results the better.

Importantly, Global Talent Independent is not an employer-sponsored program; you are not required to have a job offer in Australia.

To learn more about the requirements of a GTI visa, click here.

 

Processing Time

One major perk of the GTI is very fast processing of applications. 

At the Law Council's Immigration Law Conference on 20 March 2020, respresentatives from the Department of Home Affairs stated that applications under the GTI program are being given priority processing. Processing times vary from 2 day to 2 months with many being decided in one to two weeks!

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman has also signed Ministerial Direction no 85 in November 2019. Direction no. 85 enables the Department of Home Affairs to give priority processing for the Distinguished Talent cohort (subclasses 124 and 858) to “support the responsive processing of applicants that are identified as highly desirable by Government.”

The GTI program uses the Distinguished Talent subclass 858 and subclass 124 visas, but provides a new pathway to these by invitation.

 

Do you need help?

Our team of experienced Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents look forward to assisting you with your Australian visa or appeal.

Based in Adelaide South Australia, we provide Australian Immigration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:

(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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Featured

Immigration Minister Hints at Big Focus on the Global Talent Independent Visa Post-Coronavirus

Global Talent Visa Post Coronavirus


As Australia tries to restart the economy post-pandemic, the Morrison government will reset the permanent migration cap in its October budget. Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge wants to use the newly launched Global Talent Independent program to attract 5,000 of the world’s most talented high-tech migrants each year, with fast-tracking to Australian permanent residency.

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Featured

Can I Get Medicare on My Visa? Australian Visas Eligible for Medicare

Stethoscope Medicare

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having access to healthcare in Australia. If you require medical treatment, the out-of-pocket costs can put you under financial strain. If you reside in Australia and hold a valid visa, read more to find out if you are eligible for Medicare.

 

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Featured

Can Australian citizens and Permanent Residents travel overseas during COVID-19 travel bans?

Australian Citizen Travel Overseas during COVID

To help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian government has used the powers under the Biosecurity Act 2015 to prevent most travel out of Australia.


Travel Ban

The Government has banned Australian citizens and permanent residents from leaving Australia.
This is to prevent Australians from participating in the global spread of COVID-19 and to prevent them from
becoming infected overseas and returning to Australia with the virus (as Australian citizens and permanent residents are not affected by the incoming travel restrictions).
This is an important measure to help facilitate Australia’s plan to reduce the number of cases of COVID-19.

In many cases, this is a second layer of restriction, as many countries have restricted their incoming travel in a similar way to Australia.Australians looking to travel abroad at the moment may find it difficult to enter other countries, even where an outgoing travel exemption has been approved (see below).

Who is allowed to travel?

There are certain exempt persons allowed to travel.
Some are exempt by default, while others need to request an express exemption.


Those who are exempt by default or “generally exempt” are:
  • Residents of other countries
  • Aircraft or vessel crews
  • Freight workers
  • Essential offshore facility workers
  • Travellers on official government business

An exemption can be requested for persons who:
  • Are involved in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as aid workers
  • Are critical workers
  • Require urgent medical treatment which needs to be carried out outside of Australia
  • Have urgent/unavoidable “personal business”
  • Have compassionate or humanitarian reasons for doing so
  • Have a national interest reason to travel


All of these will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis and it is not necessarily clear who will fall within this and who will not.

If you plan to travel overseas in the next 3 months, travel exemption requests can be made here.


What’s the penalty for travelling without exemption?

There are very substantial penalties for breaching the requirements in the Determination.

The penalties for this can be up to 5 years of imprisonment or up to $63,000 of fines, not a sum to be taken lightly. Further, it does not appear that there is a discretion here: if you are not in one of the “general exemptions” (see below) or granted an express exemption and you do travel out of Australia in contravention of the Determination, you will have breached s 479 of the Biosecurity Act 2015.

This would include if you believe you have grounds for an express exemption, but this has not yet been given to you. As such, it is very important that you wait for an exemption before travelling out of Australia (unless you meet one of the “general exemptions”).

The mantra of it being better to “ask for forgiveness than permission” doesn’t apply here.

Other considerations

There are also heavy restrictions on travel into Australia.
The circumstances for which you can be exempted from these inbound restrictions are similarly restrictive to those above for outbound travel. In many circumstances, you will need to apply for an exemption to enter Australia or risk having your visa cancelled at the Australian border.


The circumstances for requesting an exemption include:

  • Immediate family of Australian citizens and permanent residents
  • Persons invited by the Government to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Those providing critical medical services
  • Persons with critical skills examples given are engineers, ship crews and specialised medical professionals
  • Certain diplomats
  • Where there are humanitarian or compassionate circumstances
  • An exemption must be applied for in the border restriction exemption webform, and a positive outcome must be received before travelling.

 

Do You Need Help?

If you meet the circumstances to request for a travel exemption, contact us for assistance. We have successfully obtained travel exemptions for our clients.

Contact us on +61 8 8351 9956 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Sources

Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Overseas Travel Ban Emergency Requirements) Determination 2020
Biosecurity Act 2015 

 

 

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Featured

Six Australian Visa Options Amongst COVID-19 Chaos

vosa opportunities blog

There are no shortages of negative news during the COVID-19 pandemic. At Work Visa Lawyers, we aim to take a positive approach. Below are six visa options that you may be eligible to apply for during these uncertain times.  

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Featured

Why the Australian Global Talent Independent Visa is so hot right now! 

Australian global talent independent visa subclass 124 and 858 visas

The Global Talent Independent Visa is a hot new initiative by the Australian government to encourage highly skilled workers to migrate to Australia.
We are seeing great interest in this visa from skilled professionals in Australia and around the world.


The Global Talent Independent Visa is great for many reasons, including:

  • Very fast processing

  • Straight to Australian permanent residency visa holder status

  • No expensive Skilling Australians Fund levy

  • No need for a job offer in Australia

  • Access to Medicare

 

Global Talent Independent Visa Processing Time

Australian permanent visa processing times can often be more than 12 months, sometimes up to almost 2 years. The GTI visa has one of the fastest processing times of all Australian permanent visas. 

At the Law Council's Immigration Law Conference on 20 March 2020, respresentatives from the Department of Home Affairs stated that applications under the GTI program are being given priority processing. Processing times vary from 2 day to 2 months with many being decided in one to two weeks!

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman has also signed Ministerial Direction no 85 in November 2019. Direction no. 85 enables the Department of Home Affairs to give priority processing for the Distinguished Talent cohort (subclasses 124 and 858) to “support the responsive processing of applicants that are identified as highly desirable by Government.”

The GTI program uses the Distinguished Talent subclass 858 and subclass 124 visas, but provides a new pathway to these by invitation.

 

Global Talent Post-Coronavirus

The recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shown how important Australian permanent residency visa status can be for receiving support in difficult times
and the right to enter Australia. The GTI program allows for the grant of a permanent visa in what is likely to be the fastest time of any program.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has hinted at the potential development of the GTI program as an integral part of the Australian migration program for the 2020-21 migration year, post-pandemic. 

The Australian Government is keen to ensure its 5,000 spots are filled in the 2019/20 migration program year, which ends on 30 June 2020, so it is important that you get into the program while you can. 

If you are interested in coming to live in Australia and meet the high income threshold, the Global Talent Independent Visa Program is a great opportunity for
highly skilled individuals to migrate to Australia. It’s easy to see why the program is so hot right now!

Read more about the Global Talent Independent Visa on our website

 

 

Do you need help?

Our team of experienced Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents look forward to assisting you with your Australian visa or appeal.

Based in Adelaide South Australia, we provide Australian Immigration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:

(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Sources

https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/davidcoleman/Pages/global-talent-program-business.aspx

https://www.workvisalawyers.com.au/news/all/the-global-talent-visa-program.html

https://www.workvisalawyers.com.au/news/all/immigration-focus-on-the-global-talent-visa-post-coronavirus.html

 

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Featured

Australian Partner Visas subclass 820 ,801, 300 and more - How to put together a good quality application, avoid long processing times.

Principal Chris Johnston walks you through how to put together a quality Partner Visa Application

to give yourselves the best chance for a sucessful and speedy visa processing time.

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Our South Australia Immigration Lawyers

At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Student Visas, Skilled Migration visas, Business visas, Employer-Sponsored visas, Partner, and other Family Migration visas, as well as Migration Review Tribunal, Judicial Review, and Ministerial Intervention. Based in Adelaide South Australia, our Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents provide migration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.

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Contact us on (+61 8) 8351 9956

Office: 230 Henley Beach Road, Torrensville, SA 5031, Australia

Post: PO Box 3057, Hilton Plaza, South Australia, 5033, Australia

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